Hungary; key historical events

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Map of Budapest 1913

16/6/1991. The Soviet Army finally left Hungary after 47 years.

15/2/1991, The Visegrad Agreement was signed; the leaders of Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and Poland agreed to move towards free-market systems.

26/2/1990. Soviet troops began withdrawing from Hungary. By July 1991, all 73,500 should have gone.

7/10/1989. The Hungarian Communist party changed its name to the Socialist Party.

27/9/1989. Hungary abolished its restrictive emigration laws.

16/9/1989. Hungary opened its border with Austria to refuges fleeing the East on 11/9/1989. At least 16,000 East German refugees cross from Hungary into Austria.

10/9/1989, Hungary began accepting many refugees from East Germany. Hungary opened its border with Austria, providing a route to the West. The East German Government condemned the move as ‘treachery’.

23/8/1989, Hungary removed all border restrictions with Austria.

15/3/1989. 15,000 Hungarians marched in Budapest, calling for democracy.

11/2/1989, Political Parties were allowed in Hungary.

17/6/1958. Ex-Hungarian Prime Minister Imre Nagy was executed after a secret trial, two years after the suppressed Hungarian Revolution.

10/12/1956,  Martial law was declared in Hungary.

9/11/1956. The UN told the USSR to leave Hungary.

4/11/1956, 16 Soviet divisions moved into Hungary, with 2,000 tanks, to suppress the Hungarian Revolution.

28/10/1956, Imre Nagy ordered a cease fire by security forces.

27/10/1956, Prime Minister Imre Nagy formed a new Hungarian Government, see 5/11/1956.

25/10/1956. In Poland, thousands demonstrated in favour of the new regime in Hungary. Hungarian security forces fired on demonstrators near the Hungarian Parliament, killing some 600 people.

24/10/1956, The Hungarian Government declared martial law and Soviet tanks appeared in Budapest.

23/10/1956. Anti Communist uprising began in Hungary, see 5/11/1956. Protests were against the pro-Soviet regime which had replaced the reforming regime of Imre Nagy. Stalin's statue in Budapest was torn down and the return of Nagy only served to inflame matters further. The uprising was crushed on 26/10/1956.

5/7/1953, In Hungary, Matyas Rakosi was replaced as Prime Minister by Imre Nagy. This led to a more relaxed regime.

14/8/1952, In Hungary, Matyas Rakosi, Secretary of the |Hungarian Workers Party, was also appointed Prime Minister.

7/9/1950. All religions were dissolved in Hungary.

26/12/1948, In Hungary, the Protestant and Jewish communities accepted compensation payments for the government nationalisation of their religious schools. However the Hungarian Catholic Church, under the authority of Cardinal Jozsef Mindszenty, refused to accept this measure. On this day Mindszenty was arrested, and on 8/2/1949 sentenced to life imprisonment.

14/6/1948, In Hungary the Social Democrats, under force-majeure, reluctantly agreed to merge with the Communists to form the Hungarian Workers Party.

31/8/1947. The Communists won Hungarian elections.

1/2/1946. Hungary declared itself a republic.

21/1/1945, Russia and Hungary signed an armistice. Hungarian borders were returned to their position at 31/12/1937, renouncing the Vienna Awards.

4/11/1945. General election in Hungary. Communists won just 17% of the vote, with the Smallholders Party winning with 60% of the vote. Zoltan Tildy of the Smallholders Party formed a coalition government.

24/10/1945. In Hungary, key industries and the banking sector were nationalised, as part of the Kosice Programme.

18/6/1945, In Hungary, as part of the Kosice Programme, the expulsion of all Germans and Magyars who had not been anti-Fascists was ordered. They had mostly left by the end of 1946. Large Hungarian estates were expropriated and converted into State farms.

8/5/1945, The Second World War officially ended in Europe, at one minute past midnight. Some 400,000 Hungarians had been killed, and excesses such as rapes by Soviet troops, summary arrests, and deportations to Soviet labour camps continued after this date. Total property damage at 22 billion pre-War Pengo amounted to five times national income for 1938 and about 40% of the country’s total wealth. All bridges over the rivers Danube and Tisza had been destroyed. A quarter of Hungary’s housing stock had been damaged or destroyed, along with half its industrial buildings. Half of all agricultural livestock and a third of agricultural machinery was lost; along with radical Soviet land reform that caused the 1945 harvest to be just 30% of per-War levels. The economy collapsed amidst rampant inflation, with food obtainable only by bartering objects likely to retain some value.

11/4/1941. Hungary regained the Bacska region from Yugoslavia.

30/8/1940, The Second Vienna Award restored the territory of Northern Transylvania to Hungary, from Romania. However Hungary, although succeeding in breaking the power of the ‘Little Entente’ against it (the nations of Czechoslovakia, Romania, Serbia), had only managed to regain some of its lost territories (from the pre-World War One era) by becoming almost totally dependent on the Nazi economy and politics of Germany.

11/4/1939. Hungary left the League of Nations.

4/4/1939, Hungary annexed further territory in eastern Slovakia, giving it a common frontier with Poland.

16/3/1939, Hungary annexed Ruthenia, another part of Czechoslovakia.

24/2/1939, Hungary joined the Anti-Comintern Pact.

2/11/1938, The First Vienna Award returned 12,000 square kilometres of Slovakia, a strip along the Hungarian-Slovakian frontier, to Hungarian rule (see 20/9/1938). There was, however, disappointment in Hungary that a common frontier with Poland had not been attained.

20/9/1938, The Hungarian leaders, Imredy and Kanya, were summoned to Germany. Hitler told them he had no objections to Hungary’s desires to regain Slovakia and Ruthenia, so long as Hungary actively took part in the destruction of Czechoslovakia.

16/10/1937. Fascists formed a Nazi party in Hungary.

4/2/1934, Hungary established diplomatic relations with the USSR.

5/4/1927, Hungary signed a ‘Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation’ with the Italian leader, Mussolini. Hungary needed allies, and Italy strengthened its influence in the Danube Basin.

1/1/1927. Hungary reformed its currency with a new unit, the Pengo, equivalent to 12,500 paper Crowns. The country had suffered rampant inflation in the early 1920s, and the League of Nations now helped with economic reconstruction.

31/1/1923, Hungary was admitted to the League of Nations.

18/9/1922. Hungary applied to join the League of Nations.

1/4/1922, Ex-Emperor Charles of Hungary died in Madeira (see 29/10/1921).

14/12/1921, A (somewhat dubious) plebiscite resulted in the retention by Hungary of the Sopron district, which would otherwise have gone to Austria.

29/10/1921, Ex-Emperor Charles was expelled from Hungary after he mounted a further failed coup bid; he moved to Madeira where he died on 1/4/1922.

7/3/1921, In Hungary, ex-Emperor Charles attempted a coup.

4/6/1920. At Versailles, the Treaty of Trianon cut Hungary to 25% of its former size. See maps at

The population of Hungary was cut from 21 million in 1914 to under 8 million after this Treaty.

1/3/1920, Nicholas Horthy was elected Regent of Hungary, pending a possible restoration of the monarchy.

14/11/1919, Romanian forces withdrew from Budapest, Hungary, which they had occupied since 4/8/1919.

For main European events of World War One see France-Germany

7/11/1919, The Allied War Council demanded the withdrawal of Romanian troops from Hungary.

1/8/1919, In Hungary, the Socialist regime of Bela Kun was overthrown.

22/3/1919. Bela Kun declared Hungary a Soviet Republic.

24/11/1918, The Communist Party of Hungary (Kommunistik Magyarorszagi Partja) was founded, and soon after, started publishing its own newspaper, Voros Ujsag (Red News)

16/11/1918, Hungary was proclaimed an independent Republic.

13/11/1918, Charles, the former Austro-Hungarian Emperor, formally renounced any participation in the Government of Hungary.

17/10/1918. Hungary declared its independence from Austria.

10/1/1913, Gustav Husak, First Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party, was born.

7/6/1896, Imre Nagy, Prime Minister of Hungary 1953-55 and 1956, was born.

18/2/1890, Julius Andrassy, Hungarian statesman, died.

1/1/1873, The cities of Pest, Buda and Obuda were merged to form Budapest.

8/6/1867, The Hapsburg Emperor, Francis Joseph I, was crowned Apostolic King of Hungary at Buda.

15/3/1867. Austria and Hungary buried their differences and agreed to joint rule, sharing defence, foreign, and financial matters but with separate parliaments. However the Czechs, annoyed by the minor role they were given in this arrangement, walked out of the Parliament on 22/8/1868.

17/2/1867, Julius Andrassy was appointed first constitutional premier of Hungary.

5/10/1849, Count Louis Batthyany, Hungarian statesman, died (born 1806 in Pressburg).

13/8/1849, Hungarian General, Gorgey, surrendered unconditionally to the Russian Commander in Chief, Field Marshall Paskevic. The Hungarian leader, Kossuth, who had urged the continuation of the conflict right up to the end, escaped to Turkey.

28/7/1849, Hungary’s Diet passed the Nationalities Law, granting the non-Magyar peoples of Hungary substantial rights in the use of their native languages, also regional autonomy. This was a last-ditch effort by the Diet to win over the loyalty of the peasants and make them more willing to fight against Austria; a string of Hungarian defeats, and the entry of Russia on Austria’s side, had demoralised the Hungarian Army and created a shortage of recruits.

17/6/1849, Russian troops invaded Hungary.

21/5/1849, Buda Castle was stormed by Austrian forces.

13/4/1849, The Hungarian Diet proclaimed a Republic, with Lajos Kossuth as President.

5/1/1849, Franz Joef’s Austrian troops arrived in Buda, to occupy Buda and Pest, and suppress the Hungarian Revolution.

7/9/1848, The Congress in Vienna, which opened on 22/7/1848, abolished serfdom, and the feudal system of land tenure. This greatly benefited the Czechs, who since the Battle of the White Mountains, 1620, had become a peasant nation, with only the beginnings of a middle class by 1800. After serfdom was abolished, the system of peasant ownership of land allowed national wealth to be built up, and personal liberty enabled an educational system to be established.

23/3/1848, Hungary proclaimed its independence from Austria.  On 5/1/1849 Budapest surrendered to the Austrians.

15/3/1848, The Hungarian revolution began in Budapest.

9/2/1842, Aurel Dessewffy, Hungarian politician, died (born 1808).

28/10/1843, Dezso Banffy, Hungarian statesman, was born in Klausenberg.

1840, Hungary attempted to impose Hungarian as the official language in Croatia; this provoked the formation of a Croatian Nationalisy (Illyrian) Party under Count Draskovic.

8/3/1823, Birth of Hungarian statesman Julius Andrassy, in Kassa, Hungary.

17/10/1803, Francis Deak, Hungarian statesman, was born (died 28/7/1876).

23/6/1606, The Peace of Vienna guaranteed the constitutional rights and privileges of the Hungarians in Transylvania and Imperial Hungary.

17/3/1505, Prince Christopher, son of Janos Corvinus of Hungary, died.

12/10/1504, Janos Corvinus of Hungary died (born 1473).

18/9/1490, Vladislas II, King of Bohemia, became King of Hungary.

6/4/1490, Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, died suddenly, aged 50. He was succeeded by Ladislas II of Bohemia.

20/1/1458, Mathew Corvinas, second son of Janos Hunyadi (the ruler who had successfully defended Belgrade against the Ottomans under Mehmed II in 1456) was elected King of Hungary. He took territory for Hungary from Bohemia, having obtained Papal consent for a Crusade against its Hussite ruler, George of Podebrady (ruled 1458-71). However Hungary eventually came under Ottoman rule in 1526.

9/11/1456, Ulrich Cilli, Hungarian governor, was assassinated hy Laszlo Hunyadi.

22/7/1456,  John Hunyadi, King of the Hungarians, defeated an invading Ottoman Turkish army at Belgrade. This halted the ambitions of Sultan Mahomet II to occupy Vienna and then Rome, which Mahomet regarded as still the ‘capital of Europe’.

27/3/1443, Matthius Corvinus, King of Hungary, second son of John Hunyadi, was born.

27/10/1439. Death of King Albert II of Hungary at Langendorf, from dysentery, whilst fighting the Turks. Born in 1397, he reigned less than two years and spent this in the defence of Hungary against the Turks.

10/8/1397, Albert II, King of Bohemia and Hungary (died 27/10/1439) was born.

10/7/1290, Ladislaus IV, King of Hungary, was murdered.

6/8/1272, Stephen V, King of Hungary, died.

11/4/1241, The Mongols defeated King Bela IV of Hungary at Mohi.

4/7/907. The Bavarians suffered a disastrous defeat by the Hungarians.


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